D:Ream would deny permission for song after 1997 New Labour regret

The pop group behind New Labour’s 1997 victory anthem Things Will Only Get Better said they would deny a request from Sir Keir Starmer to use the track in the upcoming General Election.

D:Ream’s founding members Alan Mackenzie and Peter Cunnah said they were dismayed to hear their number one hit play through a loudspeaker as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a July 4 General Election on a wet afternoon in Downing Street.

The pair told LBC their first thought was “not again”.

General Election announcement
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issues a statement outside 10 Downing Street after calling a General Election for July 4 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Speaking from his recording studio at home in Donegal, Cunnah told LBC: “The fact that it’s gone back to a political thing, I find disturbing. I was thinking, can we get on with our lives? But now it’s come back.

“You question, are we just some sort of protest song on a speaker down at the end of a street? It’s like some very odd piece of gravity that you just can’t escape.”

The band expressed regret at letting Sir Tony Blair use the track for his general election victory in 1997, saying they were accused of “having blood on their hands” after the UK got involved with the war in Iraq.

“I remember clearly, there was this wonderful sea change, and the nation had this feeling that there was a need for change,” Cunnah said.

“Everyone was really behind it and giving Labour the benefit of that doubt. But after the war, I became politically homeless.”

General Election announcement
Peter Cunnah, lead singer of D:Ream (Neil Munns/PA)

Mackenzie, who spoke to LBC from his home in the Midlands, said: “I don’t think politics and music should be linked.

“It’s happened to a lot of other bands as well in America and here because songs get sort of intrinsically linked to something, it can really affect it in a negative way.

“I mean, I’ll be voting to get the Tories out, but I don’t really want the song to be linked to that.”

When asked what they would say if they had been approached by Sir Keir with a request to use one of their songs, Mackenzie told LBC: “There’s no way – our songs and politics, never again.”

“I’ve learned the hard way. No, no, no,” Cunnah agreed.

“This is a change of guard, I don’t see this as an election. It’s just a change of guard, someone handing the baton on.”

The original D:Ream line-up also included now-Professor Brian Cox, but the group split up shortly after New Labour’s victory in 1997.

Cunnah and Mackenzie reunited in 2008 and are preparing for their performance at Glastonbury this summer.

The full interview can be heard on LBC weekend breakfast on Saturday.